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Rep. Liz Lee Calls for Accountability Following Findings of MPCA Air Emission Modeling

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - In February 2024, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) received new air emission modeling, or computer estimates, from Northern Iron showing the foundry is very likely emitting lead and particulate matter at levels above national ambient air quality standards. Rep. Liz Lee (DFL – Saint Paul), who represents the Eastside neighborhood where the Northern Iron site is located, called for the facility to be held accountable following the report.  

“I am deeply concerned by the reports that Northern Iron is likely exceeding national air quality standards for lead and particulate matter emissions,” said Rep. Lee. “Protecting the health and safety of our communities is paramount – especially because there are elementary schools and childcare providers in the area. I urge Northern Iron to take immediate and comprehensive steps to address these emissions and ensure full compliance with environmental regulations. 

“This is an issue that my office will continue to monitor. As we learn more information, our office will continue to amplify information so that community members stay informed.”  

The MPCA has been working with the new owners of Northern Iron to address these likely levels and is requiring the company to reduce its emissions of lead and particulate matter to meet air quality standards by May 16, 2024. In addition, the agency has installed new neighborhood air monitors to measure actual lead and particulate matter in the air. The particulate matter monitor has hourly updates available online. Data from the lead monitor, collected every six days, is expected to be available online later this month. 

The MPCA is working with Ramsey County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health to hold a community meeting in late May to provide additional information to the community. 

  • MPCA has provided the following information to community members: 
  • No level of lead is safe for people and elevated levels of lead can impact residents’ health. Children are most at risk for health impacts.?  
  • Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) blood lead screening guidelines recommend all children receive a blood lead test around 12 and 24 months of age.??  

Older children and pregnant adults should be tested when additional risk factors are present.? 


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